Video shows Carlos Ghosn’s lavish 2014 Versailles party amid investigation into wedding

The video suggests the event took place on the former Nissan chairman’s 60th birthday, but it was presented as an anniversary celebration of the Renault alliance

Arrested former chairman of Nissan Carlos Ghosn hosted a lavish party in the Palace of Versailles on March 9, 2014.  AP Photo
Arrested former chairman of Nissan Carlos Ghosn hosted a lavish party in the Palace of Versailles on March 9, 2014.  AP Photo

A video has emerged showing Carlos Ghosn, the arrested former chairman of Nissan, hosting a lavish party in the Palace of Versailles in 2014, further embarrassing him as a French magistrate investigates his wedding anniversary he held at the same venue two years later.

The eight-minute video, dated March 9, 2014, shows the party attendees greeted by guards in period costumes, as well as dancers and musicians playing classical music, basking in the splendour of the court of Louis XIV.

The cost of the black tie event was estimated to be over €600,000 (dh 2.46 million), which included a firework display over the historic castle.

Michelin-starred chef Alain Ducasse handled the catering at the sumptuous event.

At the time, it was alleged that the party was hosted to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the Nissan-Renault alliance. The date of the event, however, corresponds with Ghosn’s birthday, who was born on March 9, 1954. The car alliance was born on March 27, 1999.

There is no indication throughout the video that it was a Renault-Nissan alliance event or a professional party, with no logos in sight.

The video reveals that guests at the party included Jeff Bezos, the boss of Amazon, wife of former British Prime Minister Cherie Blair, Franco-Lebanese writer Amin Maalouf or French actor François Cluzet. Both newspapers suggested that the attendees were more Ghosn’s friends than business associates.

The release of the footage is a further embarrassment for Ghosn, who is being investigated by prosecutors in Nanterre, a suburb of Paris, for the financing of his wedding party and his wife’s birthday at the Palace in October 2016, French papers, Les Echos and L'Express revealed in February.

Renault, the company Ghosn was formerly CEO of, said in a statement on February 7 that a contribution to the French carmarker of €50,000, under a charitable donation agreement signed with the Château de Versailles, was allocated to the executive’s “personal benefit”, in connection with the 2016 party.

The Brazilian-born businessman is facing jail time after he was arrested in Tokyo over fraud allegations on November 19 and further charges were brought to him in January. His top aid Greg Kelly, a Nissan director and former head of human resources, was also arrested that day.

The arrest of Ghosn, who is widely credited with rescuing Nissan from failure and bringing it together with Renault and Mitsubishi Motors, sent shockwaves across Japan, France and the global automotive industry.

Until his arrest, Ghosn, 64, led the alliance between Nissan, Renault and Mitsubishi Motors, which produces about 11 million cars annually.

The French government has a 15 per cent stake in Renault and is the largest shareholder in the company. The French carmaker owns 44 per cent of Nissan.

The former Nissan chairman walked out of a Tokyo prison on bail late on April 26 after agreeing to restrictions on contacting his wife and vowing to fight allegations of financial crimes that could imprison him for up to a decade.

Updated: May 10, 2019 12:49 AM

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